Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insisted there were no hard feelings on his part towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the Gunners battled to north London derby glory without their captain.
Martin Odegaard’s first Premier League goal for Arsenal and a second-half penalty from Alexandre Lacazette gave Arteta’s men a 2-1 win over Tottenham, who turned in a meek display either side of a phenomenal rabona opener from Erik Lamela, who was later sent off.
Lacazette only started because Aubameyang fell foul of Arsenal’s pre-match protocols, with the Gabon forward an unused substitute at Emirates Stadium.
Nevertheless, Arteta said the problem – reported to be a time-keeping issue – is already something to be forgotten about.
“He is an incredible guy and one of the most important players in the team,” he told Sky Sports.
“He is our captain and these things happen. We have lots going on in our lives and people finding it hard with the restrictions.
“I will never tell anything that happens in the dressing room.”
3 – Mikel Arteta is the third consecutive Arsenal boss to win his first home league meeting with Spurs, following Arsène Wenger and Unai Emery. Tradition. pic.twitter.com/FW3eEo7Zt5
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Arsenal failed to convince during the closing stages as Harry Kane had a header disallowed for offside and fired a free-kick against the post.
“Going 1-0 down the way we were playing was disappointing and worst-case scenario against a team like Spurs. But we kept playing and deserve the win,” Arteta said,
“The last 10 minutes we did not manage the game and we need to improve as a team. We relied on luck. With the way we played we should have seen it out comfortably.”
Arteta, who is the third consecutive Arsenal boss to win his first home league meeting with Spurs, following Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery, added: “We had some really strong performances today.
“You could see the energy they were playing with.”It is about how you react. This team have the reaction in them to not give up. We kept playing and generating chances and got rewarded.”